Repainting Engine while installed - tricks and tips please! - Detailing - Firebird Nation

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Repainting Engine while installed - tricks and tips please!

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#1 FirebirdDAG


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Posted 20 April 2020 - 06:27 PM

Hi all,


I bought my one-owner '79 Esprit near the end of last summer season. Before I tucked it away for the winter I put it in new exterior paint, installed a new interior (carpet, seat covers, headliner), and replaced leaf springs and brakes. I also used some foam degreaser to clean the engine bay, which must've been TOO effective, since my hood latch release cord snapped off the next day. I'm hoping it didn't dry out anything else to that same degree.


I'll be taking it out of hibernation in the next few days and my first project this year is going to be to spruce up/detail the engine bay.


Of course the engine (a 301, unfortunately - but it is original numbers-matching, and low miles, and starts and runs like a charm so far), needs a good refresh of blue paint.


My question is, how do I best prep and paint it while it's still seated in the engine bay, to prevent overspray and a real messy job? This is my first time doing such a project and have learned to research first to avoid creating more work down the line.


Hope you guys can offer some advice and tips!



#2 tjs


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Posted 21 April 2020 - 11:34 AM

Lots of gunk spary and high pressure washer.Make sure EVERY place water can get into the engine is sealed.Plastic bag around the dizzy.That will be the EZ part.Getting everything dry and masked off to paint will be a challenge.Tom



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Posted 21 April 2020 - 04:43 PM

Clean as Tom mentioned then hose it down with 2-3 cans of brake cleaner with large cardboard under the car to soak up the stuff and protect driveway or garage floor etc. and rags to sop up puddles on the intake and other areas.  Start at the top of the engine on each side and work your way down as far as you want to go. Then let it sit and dry completely before following procedure below.


I've painted a number of engines while they're in place using engine spray paint but NOT spraying it directly on the engine. While wearing gloves spray the paint into the top of the spray can till there's a puddle in it AWAY FROM THE CAR. Then let it evaporate a bit to thicken it up a little. Use an acid brush to paint block & the parts you want to paint. You'll learn as you go how much to let it evaporate and what not. It can come out looking like you removed the engine and painted it if you're careful. Brush marks don't show up on any rough surfaces like cast iron. I don't usually tape off anything but YMMV.


Here's an original engine being removed that the upper part had been painted with the engine in place many, many, years earlier so it'd look nice for cruise nights etc.



John Paige

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